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VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Meals on Wheels Volunteers

Delivering love and nourishment every day.

Since 1973, the volunteers of Meals on Wheels have been delivering 2 well-balanced meals per day to City of Bloomington residents of all ages who are unable to prepare meals for themselves due to illness, accident or declining abilities. Currently a network of more than 200 volunteers, most driving one shift per month, deliver meals prepared by Bloomington Hospital and the Meadowood Retirement Community kitchens. The average route takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete and delivers to 5-12 clients each day. Volunteers use their own vehicles and pay their own expenses to make sure that our clients receive not only their meals, but a friendly visit to brighten their day. Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit organization and is staffed solely by volunteers.

Meals on Wheels 1 Helen Freeman a dedicated Meals on Wheel volunteerA handful of Meals on Wheels volunteers have been with the organization since it was founded by the Local Council of Women. That's more than 35 years of continual service! Approximately 18,000 meals are delivered each year - more than 600,000 meals have been delivered since the program began! Volunteers are not asked to attend meetings, donate or fundraise. Meals on Wheels volunteerism is purely service for the health and welfare of the citizens of Bloomington.

The office staff, under the guidance of executive director Mary Lang and service coordinator Ruth Chesmore, both volunteers themselves, oversees the daily Meals on Wheels operations. A well oiled chain of command begins with 5 Day Chairs, each making individual reminder phone calls to the drivers on their respective routes. In rare event of a driver unable to perform his duties on a given day or extreme inclement weather, substitute drivers fill in. Bookkeeping, general office assistance and the yearly volunteer thank you luncheon are all managed by a team of volunteers.

Meals on Wheels 2 Pat and Dotti Riggins deliver meals to homebound individuals every weekWithout Meals on Wheels, 70 Bloomington residents each day would struggle to met their personal dietary requirements alone. Besides the nutritional benefits, the emotional and social impact of a daily visit from Meals on Wheels greatly enhances the quality of life for Bloomington shut-ins.

Meals on Wheels volunteers exemplify the true meaning of volunteerism - selflessness, dedication, and quiet service to those in need.

5/20/2009
written by Kerry Marks

Learn more about Meals on Wheels and opportunities to get involved with their program here.